Become a Better and Funnier Speaker

 

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Thank you all for coming, thank you all for tuning in. Public speaking, obviously, a famously exciting topic. Famously, no. Everyone's like, absolutely not, usually, no. I told my friends I was coming to a public speaking class, and they're like, oh, poor you. Gonna be a terrible afternoon, it's not, don't worry, we're gonna learn lots of nice little funny bits that will be super useful to all of you guys. One quick question, especially here for our studio audience, can you please raise your hand if you think you're not funny? So, I'm not funny, raise your hand. About 60 percent, 50 percent, kind of, the rest of you are funny, really funny? This class should be fine, so, because we have all your wisdom and creativity to call on at any point. But it's a funny question, when you ask it in America, people will always go, oh, yeah, I'm kinda funny, or I'm not. If I asked that question in Ireland, we're like, 100 percent I'm funny, I'm definitely funny! A couple of beers in the pub, I'm alw...

ays funny. No worries at all! But over here, it's funny how everyone always has an idea about it, you're either funny or you're not. And hopefully, within this class, we'll prove to you that it's very much a skill that can be learned and developed, and if you identify that as a skill, well, definitely it can be harnessed, and you can get better all the time. So you definitely can, and we're very much gonna look at a topic that's not that exciting, in public speaking, through the eyes of what would a true master of this do. Not in me, but harnessing the wisdom from loads and loads of different people, very much within the emphasis on entertainment. We're gonna do that a lot especially on the content side, because many of you will have taken a public speaking class before, and you go in, and they're like, move your hands like this, it's gonna make a big difference. Make eye contact, really freak people out, like this! And you're like, you have all these little things that you're now worried about, like what am I gonna do with the hands, and should I be over there, or where, or freaking him out, no, that was too long. And you get kinda flustered, and you're like, that wasn't fun, I have all these little tips, but now I'm even actually more freaked out about public speaking than I was before. Because it's a big fear for a lot of people. The funny thing is, if you're up there moving your hands wonderfully around and making eye contact, if you're speaking rubbish and delivering it beautifully, it's still rubbish. So you just look even more weird, because you're passionately vocalizing these words that nobody cares about anyway. So we wanna sneakily focus on content for the first half of this class, so very much, how are you gonna create content, not from the world of comedy, we're gonna very much look to all the world's leading TED talks. So there's comedy in all these leading TED talks. They're using humor techniques, they're using techniques from the world of stand up comedy, and we're gonna try and replicate them by looking at them, and then apply that to you creating your own content. So you guys here in the studio, you guys on live, hopefully we'll get started on how to get our own bits and replicate those cool talks. So notice we're focusing on crafting our own style, our own personality, our own content, and we're very much focused on the techniques of delivery, so not the style. So Jerry Seinfeld's great for saying, and very famous for saying, "The closer you get to being yourself, "the funnier you will be." And we're 100 percent gonna go with that technique. You don't wanna look at Ellen or Robin Williams or someone amazing, or some of these articles you've read about breaking down the style of comedy, because style is personality, and it can't be copied. You can copy Chris Rock, he's amazingly funny. You copy his style, you bring it to your next business conference, you get thrown out. That's it, they're just gonna toss you out completely, because his style is very much his personality, and it's suitable for one medium. So we're not gonna copy his style, we're not gonna copy any comedian's styles, we're just gonna try and understand and replicate their techniques. Now, the good news with this, if you're tuning in, and you're like, this sounded like a wacky class, not quite sure what it's all about, comedy, public speaking, sounds kind of interesting, let's just see. If you're like, this comedy isn't for me, a nice thing to remember, the bar in public speaking is so low. It's ridiculous. Literally, you can throw in a GIF, a funny video, some little story about anything, 90 percent better than all the speakers out there, right? You guys can literally quickly, if you apply a few of these techniques, turn a business conference into a group of happy dolphins, just going backwards, going like, oh my god, I want more of that, that was amazing. Right, we've all been to those events where somebody actually finally good gets on to speak, and you're like, that was amazing! I brought my laptop, I was checking the power outlet, because I thought they'd all be boring, but one was really good. Have you ever noticed to yourself, when you miss a funny bit and everyone's clapping, they're like, oh that was amazing, and laughing, you're like, what, what happened, I don't know, I missed it, and you just join in. You really are searching for that little bit of entertainment, right, and we're gonna make sure we're gonna give it to people, because it's a way that their mind retains. It's kind of very much the premise of this class is based on this, that the brain doesn't pay attention to boring things. Especially these days, when you have a way to switch off really, really quickly, with your phone, with your device. As soon as they're saying something you're not on board with, you lose the audience really, really quickly. So we wanna learn to create and develop and curate content and deliver it in a way that we know is gonna keep people engaged. We're doing this for a reason. Very much, all of a sudden, information has become infotainment. So no longer do you watch the news for news anymore. You're like, I have a cooler way of getting the news. Does anybody watch the news for news, old style news, anymore? Just you, one, two, cool, all around my age, more or less. A few of us do. More of us tend to get it from someone like this. Look a bit more familiar? And once you get it from him, you're like, that was way cooler. It's kind of the same content, but he's really shaped a whole industry, and all of a sudden you have people like John Oliver and Trevor Noah, and news is in your feed, in your Facebook page. You're like, normally I wouldn't have been interested in this, but this is coming to me in a funny way. So whether you're creating content, whether you have your own blog, whether you're writing a book, whether you work within a company, whenever you have to publicize something or get attention for it, you're going to end up advertising on mediums like Facebook sooner or later, and the people there are conditioned to receive information with a level of entertainment. If it's not entertaining, it's on Facebook, and you're just scrolling away, and you scroll right through it. So we wanna create content we know at least has a chance of standing out, and giving people what they're looking for on these mediums. Now, it'll be someone here somewhere, I know, because I was always this person at one stage as well, going, I don't know if I can use humor. I have a job that's very serious, I can't use humor. But to anyone who thinks, oh, I can't use humor, there's a guy in America, I think he has the most responsibility-laden serious job in the world of leadership you could possibly have, and he's funny. And I think everybody in this room would go, that guy is funny. Who do you think we're talking about? Obama. Those are not my words, they're his campaign manager, and the guy that writes for them, writes the speeches, writes the talk, humor works. They very much know that to capture the nation's attention in those kind of events, humor is an effective medium for getting your attention. And I bet we've all watched a lot of his stuff. And you watch him, you're like, his timing and delivery is amazing. Has anybody else thought that while they're watching him? I do be loving it, I'm like, we need a president like that in Ireland. Our guy is pretty funny, but his timing is pretty epic a lot of the time. The question is, well, is it a risk? If the president is using humor in the highest stakes environment ever, surely humor is not a risk if you know what you're doing. As there are certain techniques you use, you kind of expect the result to happen the way it is. You expect people to laugh, so we're very much gonna craft stuff in a way that'll allow you to get that result. But worst case, go to your boss, and be like, there's a guy, he can blow up the whole world if he has a bad day, he's dealing with things like health insurance, but yet, he's between two ferns with Zach Galifianakis, talking about insurance, and we're loving it, right? So if anyone ever gives you resistance on this, we can't use it, you can't, modern day companies, they realize that we don't just have one voice or one personality. We're a different way on Snapchat than we are on Facebook because we have a different demographic, and a lot of those demographics want humor. There's a reason they're doing it, and it's very much down to this expression, which I love. The end of laughter is followed by the height of listening. So the most attentive anybody will ever be when you say something, is that moment when you make them laugh, because they're gonna be like, give me more, I want more of that. And the average speaker or presenter, a lot of the time, when they're not expecting that humor, they display just how powerful this is, because they make people laugh, and then they keep speaking, and then everybody stops because they want more, and now their timing doesn't look good anymore. So worst case, we're gonna teach you that and a whole bunch of other tricks and tips where your timing automatically looks really amazing, just like President Obama, just by the way you're going to deliver and structure. So it's quite important, just remember, that the end of laughter is followed by the height of listening. Those are not my words of wisdom, borrowed or stolen from a guy called Jeffrey Gitomer, I give him full credit for that. But I love it, because it really underlines what we're gonna teach you guys today, and what you're gonna learn.


Let’s just be real for a minute: most public speakers are boring. And aside from making your day a little less fun, dull presentations are bad for business.


Audiences have become conditioned to receiving information with a dose of entertainment, and that makes humor a critical tool for any professional communicator. We want our data with a punchline these days-- witness the success of The Daily Show or the stickiness of many of President Obama’s speeches for example.

It’s not just about getting some laughs to make yourself feel good; it’s about using humor to grab and hold your audience’s interest, making your message stickier and ultimately more persuasive. In a world full of bland, dull speakers, if you stand out, you win!

The good news is that humor is a skill, which means that it can be learned by anyone. The notion that we’re “born funny” couldn’t be more false: “being funny” is just a set of easily-replicated techniques (for example, the setup followed by the punchline) that anyone can pick up with a little practice.

Whether you are preparing for a business presentation, giving a wedding toast, defending your thesis, raising money from investors, this class will take you from nervous and sweaty to stage-ready.

Bestselling author, storyteller, occasional comedian, and Irishman, David Nihill will teach you:  

  • How top business speakers are using humor
  • One Sure Fire Way to Add Funny to any content
  • How To Replicate Top TED Talks
  • Basic Comedy Writing Techniques
  • Quick ways to get funny fast
  • How To Make Boring Things Funny (with guest Sarah Cooper)
  • Storytelling Tips that everyone can use
  • Advanced Comedy Writing Techniques
  • How to critique your own stories
  • Never go blank on stage with the memory palace technique
  • Content delivery tips for all levels
  • Manage stage fright  

As an added bonus, Sarah Cooper, a writer, comedian, and creator of the satirical blog TheCooperReview.com, will be joining David to teach you how to make boring subjects more entertaining.

Learn more about David Nihill from his appearance on the “Profit, Power, Pursuit Podcast”!  

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • I always wondered why my favorite TED talks look so effortlessly off-the-cuff while commanding my undivided attention: Laughter. David's class taught me how "The end of laughter is followed by the height of listening." Applying stand-up comedy techniques to the art of storytelling makes information much easier to retain, and hence, easier to share with others. David handily makes the case for why the comedic structure is necessary and applicable in a variety of cases, ranging from business presentations to blog posts. After learning about the joke structure and funnel, I now hear/see them in action throughout my day. He also shares specific tips on how to "memorize" talking points while remaining totally flexible to last-minute time changes (e.g. "Your 20-minute talk just got chopped to 5 minutes. Go!") David covers specifically how to start your talk, end your talk, and where precisely to position your Q&A sessions to maximize audience reaction to the speaker. He supercharges this talk with so many actionable tricks and tips. Sarah Cooper makes a guest appearance sharing 4 tips that I found especially helpful for creating funny visuals. David's heartfelt honesty about the guts it takes to "get up on stage" - the vulnerability of it - really shines through. And now, I carry my "Funny File" with me at all times. This is a truly phenomenal class, both in content and delivery. Thank you for making me laugh, David and Sarah!
  • Pretty brilliant. David is hilarious so he is definitely using his techniques. Its also easier to follow the class and want more when they are funny. I think most of the presenters on Creative live should be taking this class too . Make it funny so that learning becomes "fun"-ner
  • Brilliant lecture. David managed to keep me hooked, and I am pretty sure I will do so much better on whatever public speaking I have to do next As a photographer, I know this will help improve the way I look at talking about my work, and I think these kind of skills are vital to any artist. One little thing I didn't like about this was more of a technical issue. He uses videos as examples to the content he is teaching, but none of the CL links to the videos worked. I know its probably a copyright issue, but I would rather watch bad footage of the TV in the studio than nothing at all. Especially since I can't pause the talk and find the videos. Regardless, brilliant talk. Definitely watch it!